Monday, December 12, 2011

Let Us Cross To The Other Side

As I was praying today, I was reminded of a scripture passage of something Jesus spoke and did for His disciples. I have heard it preached many times, and I have enjoyed teaching the story to the kids at church as well. But the Lord showed me something today that I had not previously understood, but now, that pearl of great value found in His word at exactly the moment I needed it.
In Mark 4:34-41, Jesus has just finished teaching the multitudes, He has spent some alone time with His disciples (verse 34) and Jesus says to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” One of the pearls that I found was in this verse.  Jesus, speaking this to His disciples was saying, “Okay, I have taught you many things about Me, about your Father in heaven, and how to live this Christian life. Now, let’s test that faith and see you apply it to your hearts.” (I am totally paraphrasing!)  Verse 36 tells us that “they took Him along in the boat as He was.” The disciples were not totally sold on Jesus yet. They trusted Him as a great teacher, and as a great prophet. They loved Him and they knew there was something about Him that made them want to follow Him, but they did not know Him nor understand Who He was quite yet. That is why the Lord brought them to this point in their walks- asking them to follow Him into the storm in faith.
One little interesting side note the Lord showed me in verse 36, “and other little boats were also with Him.” You are not walking this Christian walk alone. In fact, you are being watched by someone- someone is watching your life, your walk, and your deeds.  Watching to see how you handle things. When they see Jesus in the boat with you, traveling through storms, rough seas and tumultuous winds, they see His power, and they begin to have that seed of faith grow up in them. You may be the only Jesus people will ever see!
Now, verse 37 tells us that “a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.” I am in the midst of this storm right now. The waters are overflowing, and I fear that we (my family) are going to sink to the bottom. One minute is smooth, and the next the wind starts blowing, our boat starts rocking from side to side, and the waves come crashing in. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a rough sea, but it is not a fun place to be. You are afraid you are going to capsize at any moment. Ladies, you are going to have these trials. There are going to be times in our walks that we become so scared of capsizing that we begin to lose faith and start to freak out.  I did it just the other day. (Ask my husband, he will tell you about my little meltdown that I had!)
But God gives us His hope and shows us His great power in the following verses. Verse 38 says that Jesus “was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?!” I so know how they feel! Sometimes, in fact, just recently, I felt like the Lord was asleep while we were wasting away. I thought that He did not hear my prayers; I thought maybe He was not listening. I cried harder and harder, screamed louder and louder, but it seemed like the waves of this trial and the sound of this windstorm was drowning out my pleas. Until finally, I was totally freaked out and said, “Lord- Help me, please! Do You not see and care about what is happening?”
It was not that He was asleep; the point is that He was right there in the boat with them. Was Jesus worried? No, in fact, He was asleep in the stern- if anything was going to happen to them, if the boat was going to capsize, Jesus would have been in one of the most vulnerable parts of the entire boat! He was exactly where He needed to be. Jesus knows the storms we are in, He is right there with us, in the boat with us. He is not surprised or upset; He is not worried because He already knows the outcome. He already knows what it going to happen. When God is testing our faith, when God is teaching us and drawing us closer to Him, it will at times seem like He is asleep. It is at those times when He wants us to seek Him out. Just like the disciples did. They went and sought Him out, boldly proclaiming that they knew He could help them.
What happens when we seek Him out in the midst of these storms? He rescues us; He will always come to our rescue. Jesus calmed the storm and the seas, verse 39 says, “Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Can you hear my sigh of relief? Yep, I am sighing in relief because He made the trial stop, and the storm is calmed, for now. There is something of great value here, nestled very nicely in the pages of your bibles. Jesus not only said, “Peace, be still!” to the wind and the seas, but He also said it for the benefit of the disciples. He will speak to us in the midst of the mighty storms, “Peace, be still” and we will be.  In Psalm 46:10 God tells us, “Be still and know that I am God…” Starting to love those words more and more!
The last thing Jesus speaks to the disciples in this little snippet of scripture is, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (verse 40) After you have come through your trial, your windstorm, your rocky sea- the Lord is going to ask you, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” He is not asking because He is disappointed or shocked at our fearful response, instead, He asks because He wants us to see Who He is in the midst of our storms, to grow in our trust of Him, in our knowledge of Him, and of our understanding of Who He is.
The disciples had a little faith, but they needed to see and to grow more. So Jesus asked them to step into a boat and follow Him. He knew what was ahead of them, but He asked them to come so that they could benefit. The storm you are in now is for a purpose and a reason. It will grow your faith, your trust and your understanding so that when the next windstorm comes, (and there will be many more) you will be ready for it. And remember the other little boats that were around- they saw it all! Think about how their faith was strengthened, and possibly, maybe one of those little boats decided that Jesus was God and started to follow Him. How awesome is that!
I will leave you with one last scripture verse that the Lord spoke to me this morning, 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen”